Emotional intelligence in front-line/back-office employee relationships
journal contributionposted on 01.02.2017 by T. Kearney, G. Walsh, W. Barnett, T. Gong, M. Schwabe, Kemefasu Ifie
Any type of content formally published in an academic journal, usually following a peer-review process.
Purpose—This research undertakes a simultaneous assessment of interdependence in the behaviours of front-line and back-office employees and their joint effect on customer-related organizational performance. It also tests for a moderating influence of the emotional intelligence of front-line salespeople and back-office employees. Design/methodology/approach—The sample comprises 105 front-line sales employees and 77 back-office employees. The customer-related organizational performance data come from a U.K. business-to-business (B2B) electronics company. With these triadic data, this study uses partial least squares to estimate the measurement and structural models. Findings—Salespeople’s customer orientation directly affects customer-related organizational performance; the relationship is moderated by salespeople’s emotional intelligence. The emotional intelligence of salespeople also directly affects the customer directed citizenship behaviour of back-office employees. Furthermore, the emotional intelligence of back-office staff moderates the link between the emotional intelligence of salespeople and back-office staff citizenship behaviour. Back-office staff citizenship behaviour in turn affects customer-related organizational performance. Originality/value—The emotions deployed by employees in interactions with customers clearly shape customers’ perceptions of service quality, as well as employee-level performance outcomes. But prior literature lacks insights into the simultaneous effects of front-line and back-office employee behaviour, especially in B2B settings. This article addresses these research gaps by investigating triadic relationships—among back-office employees, front-line employees and customer outcomes—in a B2B setting, where they are of particular managerial interest.
- Business and Economics